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Miami overcomes late deficit, loss of Duke Johnson to beat UNC

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

Duke Johnson totaled 59 yards on this run, but was knocked out of the game before halftime. (USATSI)
Duke Johnson totaled 59 yards on this run, but was knocked out of the game before halftime. (USATSI)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The week has been filled with hype for Florida State-Clemson and talk of the ACC football being as good as it has ever been in the BCS era.

Miami and North Carolina did no favors for the league on Thursday combining for six interceptions, two missed field goals (one returned for a Miami touchdown) in the 27-23 Hurricanes win on national television.

The biggest setback for No. 10 Miami came in the first half, losing star running back Duke Johnson and starting wide receiver Phillip Dorsett to injuries. The Hurricanes only put together two offensive scoring drives in the first half, and each was set up from a big play from one of the two injured players -- a 59 yard run from Johnson and a 69 yard reception from Dorsett each set up field goals.

Miami's first offensive touchdown actually didn't come until the second half, when backup running back Dallas Crawford broke the 100-yard mark and crossed the goal line to cut the Tar Heels' lead to 23-20.

Crawford was the star of the evening for the Hurricanes, finishing with 33 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the absence of Duke Johnson. Miami needed every yard and every score (especially the game-winning touchdown) due to Stephen Morris' season-high four interceptions.

For North Carolina, a team that falls to 1-5 after being tabbed as ACC Coastal Division contenders, the loss was heartbreaking. The Tar Heels host Boston College next Saturday, needing to win five of their final six games to reach bowl eligibility.

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